Rock Star Mackinder

One of the most dynamic members of the creative class that I have had the honor of working with is the dazzling Vivienne Mackinder.  Currently Vivienne is the Fashion Director of Intercoiffure (American/Canada) and recipient of numerous accolades including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Hairstyling Awards.

The woman and artist that I know her as could win an unlimited amount of acknowledgements as long as they include words like: Most Driven, Quite the Undaunted, and Outstandingly Consistent When Delivering Super-Star Quality Work. So if you are a foundation or organization that honors such individuals, I nominate Vivienne.

It is with no surprise when this radiant lady sent me notice of her newest accolade – the 1,000 year old Irish Hairdressers Federation “International Icon” award.

Vivienne I take my hat off to you. You are an important and enduring symbol to us. You constantly push excellence in art and fashion to the next level. You are an icon of grace, fearlessness and humor. I don’t know anyone who can blend those three elements so beautifully together like you do. You are endlessly my red-haired, dynamo example.

Keep leading the way for creative types all over the globe. We need more mentors to show us how to earn a living by harnessing the talent that flows between our hearts and minds. We need to absorb your insights and wisdom in order to make talent explode out our fingertips as yours does.

Hugs! Kisses! And fireworks to you Vivienne “the Great” Mackinder!


Watch as Lyn takes Vivienne through a creativity coaching session. Click on the link below and select the “Inside The Artist Mind: The Creative Process” movie (to the right of your screen)



Before the Project Begins

Before you start planning a project you might want to make sure that what you are undertaking is actually a project.

 I say this because, trying to apply a project management process to anything other than a true project is like trying to pound in a nail the handle of a screw driver.

Projects and operational processes share several qualities:

  • They both require people performing functions
  • They are both constrained by limited resources
  • They both work best when planned out, executed and controlled

What really sets a project apart from a process involving operational functions is this:

A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or goal. The work has a clearly defined with beginning and an end. And even though you may have done a similar project to the one at hand, it is always unique. For example, planning an Annual Fund-Raising Gala is a project – no two Gala’s are exactly the same. The guests and invitations often differ as well as the entertainment and the menu.

In comparison a process is the main function of operations. Assembling a line of cars, processing payroll, closing out the till for the night are examples of operational functions. For best results each one of these examples requires a standardized process by which they are completed.

So if you want to be sure that you are using a project management process appropriately, first qualify work as a true project. Otherwise you might be left feeling like you are sawing through a 2 X 4 with a nail file. This quick video might help.

To see the next blog in this series click here!



“Live Strong” Joins “Live More”

Two powerful influences connect this weekend to bring an international focus of hope and transformation to the mountains of Utah.

Lance Armstrong announced last week, days after celebrating his 40th birthday, that he was coming “to have fun” at the XTERRA USA championships held in the Snowbasin area just above Ogden. Anyone who knows much about Lance knows that his” idea of fun” involves competition. What you might not know is that he started his athletic career in triathlon races twenty three years ago.  As a young man Lance ranked number 1 in the 19-and-under age group. So Saturday’s participation will be an exploration for him to determine if XTERRA off road events are going to be the venues for his career transition.

I was delighted when XTERRA posted that Lance would be joining our ranks. It makes sense that the founder of Live Strong would pick an Xterra event for his potential debut.  For example, Team X-T.R.E.M.E. supported by the XTERRA Foundation, was designed to inspire, bring hope to and improve the quality of life of wounded American veterans. Certainly they live up to their motto: Live More!

Lance’s own foundation identifies the issues faced by cancer survivors, and then works to improve the quality of life for members of the global cancer community. Thus his tagline: Live Strong!

So here I am tipping a hat to Lance for deciding to join this Utah XTERRA event.

And I’m sending a huge thank you to the folks who run XTERRA events.  You do an incredible job of producing high-quality, professional off-road events that indeed do challenge and inspire us to Live More!

Inspiring Turd

This morning I was a guest at the local annual Blue Ribbon Breakfast hosted by Zions Bank. The benefit was designed to assist the Family Support Center. Aside from an agenda which included a call for donations and a keynote speech by Elizabeth Smart, my coaching student April Hanrath was honored with the Champion against Child Abuse Award.

April does incredible things with her time and talent. She singlehandedly raises two children, she has authored two books, and she donates enough volunteer hours a year to equal the efforts of three people.

The April I have come to know is tough when she needs to be, soft when it counts and as determined as an English bulldog to make a difference. Her daughter Jocelyn is following suit and was on hand to cheer her mother on today. Jocelyn was responsible last year for making sure that more than a hundred children associated with the Family Support Center received three toys each at Christmas.

Now let’s get back to the reason for naming this piece the way it is. Upon entered the venue this morning, April motioned me over to a reserved seat at her table and began making introductions. After sharing the names of her associates with me, April said this:

I want you to know who Lyn is to me. She has trained me how to coach and she has been my mentor. The best thing I can tell you about her is that she could inspire greatness out of a turd.

Now there’s a tag line for you. T

This has to be one of the most unique introductions ever.  It filled with me laughter and left me speechless all in the same moment.

April, thanks for making my day in many ways. Your giving inspires me. The audience was visually moved this morning by your acceptance speech. And I believe your spirit of giving and your compassion will continue to influence generations to come as Jocelyn follows closely in your footsteps. We are lucky you two live here and influence here.


Catch it at Kayo

Less than three days remain before you miss out on Dan Christofferson’s current show at the Kayo Gallery.

Dan is one part intellectual, two parts truth-teller with a genuine-hearted illustrator connecting all the other pieces together in this distinct and distinguished latter-day gentleman.

Last time he had a show here in Salt Lake City I purchased the t-shirt. This time around I bought the book.

Owning pieces of Dan’s creativity is a fulfilling experience. It is, in my opinion a positive nod toward the new future of Western Art.

Hats off to you Dan! You are an inspiration. Your passion and curiosity never cease to delight and mentor me.


Sizing up Her Elephant

We find Victoria standing on the edge of needing to write a business plan. The truth about business plans is that most entrepreneurs don’t write them.

Victoria is not “most entrepreneurs” and I’m not surprised to find her sizing up this task that often resembles eating an elephant.

I agree that she would benefit from writing a business plan. She is at the point of rebranding her reinvented business. Her new model requires formally joining forces with other teams and alliances. A business plan will be useful when promoting and attracting these types of relationships.

Due to the array of business goals and the endless variety of circumstance and scenario, there is not such thing as a standard business plan. Add to the mix that a business plan once written must not be allowed to go stale. It is advised to rework it each year or every other year. I offered Victoria a template I use with small businesses. It is a short, sweet version of eating an elephant.

On reviewing the template she realized that it’s not that much different than developing a strategic plan for a nonprofit organization, which she does as part of her consulting practice. The terminology used might be slightly different but the areas she needs to address are pretty much the same.

She looked over my offering and determined that she was going to give it a strong broad sweep. Meaning, instead of writing one chunck at a time (which most folks do) she would fill out the entire template with her first thoughts. That way she’d have at least a complete V 1.0 at the end of her efforts. Then she’ll go back and work on the chunks, always keeping the big picture in mind.

I’m happy to share a copy of my template with anyone who wants one. Simply request it by writing me at and placing “short biz plan” in the subject line. Below you’ll find other reasons that an entreprenur might want to write a business plan. They include:

  • Attract potential partners and funders needed to grow a business.
  • Support you in evaluating the strengths, weaknesses and viability of alternatives for your company.
  • Provide you with critical documentation necessary for a potential buy-out.
  • Provide you with a baseline comparable to measure growth against in years to come.
  • Provide you with clarity and a roadmap. Just as writing up a proposal helps you think through a potential engagement, writing up a business plan helps you thing through a potential business structure.


And in conslucion I’d like to reiterate my originial statement about the entreperneurial tendency to not write a business plan by sharing a snippet take from Inc. Magazine:

One question in this year’s survey of Inc 500 founders asked whether they had written formal business plans before they launched their companies. Only 40% said yes. Of those, 65% said they had strayed significantly from their original conception, adapting their plans as they went along. In a similar vein, only 12% of this year’s Inc 500 group said they’d done formal market research before starting their companies.  Seat of the Pants, by Sarah Barlett, October 15, 2002.

At the end of the day it all comes down to each individual needing  to size  your own need to eat an elephant… or not.



To read the next entry of Victoria’s story click here. 

To start at the beginning of Victoria’s story click here.


Let Jealousy Speak

Have you ever felt “green” with envy? Humorist Erma Bombeck once said: Green is the color of rotting food. Green is not a happy color.

Maybe Erma was on to something. Feelings of jealousy are quite uncomfortable. They tend to make us feel rotten, unhappy or even grumpy. And yet when feelings of jealousy start flowing maybe we need to push pause on the emotional stream and push play on further investigation. Jealousy often has a valuable message for us.

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you feel a twinge of jealousy when you see another person full of life and vitality. If we push pause on the emotional barrage of anger or critical thought toward this person and listen into what investigation snoops out, we might be surprised. Maybe our jealousy is simply acting like a small child tugging at our shirt and asking us to get “some of that vitality” for our self.

If jealousy pricks at you when another person purchases a new car, maybe it is asking you to take note. Maybe it is time to review or reconcile where you prioritize your spending. Once you reconnect to the reason you don’t have a new car maybe you can see it is a good thing to do for yourself. Or you reaffirm that your money is going to something that holds greater satisfaction. Either way, jealousy affords you a reality check. It doesn’t have to pull you into negative stories or bad perceptions of yourself or another.

Like a wide-eyed observer, jealousy simply notices when someone else is willing to do or be something our own heart might be wanting. Open your ears and hear how it whispers back to you one of many possible messages like: Let it happen! Allow yourself. Stop holding back! You’re doing just great as you are.

Jealousy doesn’t have to turn us green. It can make us wiser and happier. Let it.

Gold and Disbelief


Somewhere behind a mid-week depression and into a soft-centered urge to cry, I doggie paddled out to Saturday’s starting line.

Forget about wetting myself. I did that on the shoreline.

The adrenaline buzzing through my veins was unappreciated. A caffeine-like quick start burns out fast. I needed some sort of high-octane, sustaining fuel.

Last week (as you may have read in the August 19th posting) I let go of a hundred pounds of expectation, and replaced that weight with an intention to fall into flow and see what would happen. Seconds before the race I needed to plug into that wisdom so I accessed council given to me from three sources:

  • Mark Twight, my mentor from Gym Jones said it like this: “Lyn, smooth is fast.”
  • My loving partner reminded me to be fully present in my body and feel the flow running through my center. “That’s where you want to swim from.”
  • A spiritual guide, Juliette, encouraged me to blend my intense capacity to focuswith a higher consciousness and, “…fall back into the arms of this calming stream.”

These words were the fingers that turned off the noxious switches trying to fire in my brain. These were my anchors rooting me back into my hard-trained endurance. These were faith lines plugging into the power that leads my soul. So out in the water, treading away, I blended them into a freshly made mantra:

“Today I trust in flow. I simply desire to finish with a sense that I have done my best.”

Then the fog horn blew and the race began. Within the first 25 yards it took full throttle awareness to get both mind and body to shift together intoa sustainable pace which in my case is comparatively slower than most of the competition. I wasn’t afraid of drowning. I was concerned about an over abundance of adrenalin.  Intent on finding a sense of stability I slowed into flow before the first marker. And then it slipped out. I found it again. I worked on my sightings, checked in on flow again and made sure I could feel it from head to toe. I kept an eye on other athletes flailing or straying along my side. It took persistence to focus on breathing and to trust my goal – simply finish centered and grounded in a good effort. And I persisted around the course and up out of the water. For me, coming out of the swim healthy and whole is enough of a win for any tri event.

Once on the bike my heart stoked confidence as my partner called out the swim time – the best I’ve ever had. In that exact moment my legs pushed into place clicking with a sure sense of the power invested there. Within 15 seconds I had passed the first racer ahead in my age division. From there on I stayed in the groove – streaming cooperative levels of air to lungs, strength to legs, and remained unattached to outcomes.

I passed several people; a 44 year-old men, a 28 year-old women, and a couple of teenagers (racer’s ages are painted on the back of the left calve). I maintained the steady, strong flowing pace right back to the 5k transition.

And then I started to run. Each extremity below my waist seemed like cement. What had pushed hard on the bike was joining gravity and pushing back on my core. I pulled a half-chewed shot block from my mouth and threw it in the reservoir. I yanked my hat down low, concentrated on finding a way to get the lines of communication moving down my leg hoping to find a strand of lucid energy. Again the hours of training came into play. They helped me trust that I’d get a healthy stride, just like I usually do after the first mile marker. The heat turned up a notch and tried to convince me otherwise.

“Keep moving, just sustain,” my heart whispered. “You’re going for a finish. You only need to find your stride and ride this out.” I calmed myself into this thought as a pesky little voice rushed up intent on pushing my buttons, “Hope for at least placing fifth.” I instantly swiped the thought from my mind.

I talked back, “I don’t need to place. I came here to experiment with finding flow and staying with it.” I kept a tight grip on that thought and passed the second mile marker. This is where I found myself measuring the distance between my energy and the finish line. I wanted to keep up the pace and be able to kick in at 100 yards out. That marker came and went. I decided I needed to stay in the flow I had going. I sensed I had enough kick for the last 50 yards. And when that mark came I shifted. The fuel was there, the flow was too. I moved across the finish line with a strong final surge.

Authors Note

What we do matters so much less than who we become from the doing.  As I write this entry tears tangle in a knot at mid throat. For having put myself out there to sustain flow no matter what, I am forever changed. There are new and more sustainable patterns emblazoned in my being. I have a fresh map for success. The energy in my life and work increased in voltage. I now know how to meld with a divine spark.

The experience has been golden and I stand humbly in disbelief with a medal to remind me of such.


Applicable Lessons Found Along the Hedge Hog Path – Victoria

How, or better yet, when does one validate the inner call to change one working identity for another?

Often we make the shift to leave an employer or a career several months before the transition actually occurs. These early inklings start to stir internally until they shake out into action. Once again we peek in on Victoria’s transition and see where those early inklings have turned into today’s reality.

I want to wake up in the morning energized to start the day because the work that lies ahead is engaging and full of promise. I’ve learned there is a difference between doing what I’m good at (considered a strength according to Gallup) and doing what I’m good at AND what I love to do. It’s what I refer to as a Hedge Hog Strength. I spent several years as a consultant taking work on that I was good at but not what I loved to do because it assured me of income. But within a few years, I reached a point at which I was no longer waking up with excitement and I was cranky about my clients. Not good.

Through a process of re-engineering my career I’ve slowly returned to a place of waking up excited to get to work. I’ve gotten re-connected with my Hedge Hog. What I’ve learned along the way is that generally when you are waking up in the morning and doing what you love, it’s because you are working to your Hedge Hog Strengths. In general strength has hallmarks. Something that is considered strength is an activity you can complete consistently. It means that your performance is predictable.  Time after time you demonstrate how well you can perform. You do things effortlessly which leaves people asking “how do you do this so well? You make things look so easy.

But be careful. It’s easy to get caught up in what others think of you and confuse strength with a Hedge Hog Strength. I have strength as a grant writer. I built a piece of my consulting work around it. I was consistent and predictable at developing proposals that were well written, on deadline, and got funded. Time after time I was demonstrating how well I performed this strength whenever I took on a project because someone said I was good at it and they needed me. But I was never in love with grantwriting.  People will tell you what they think you are good at and if you let them define you because of fear (if I don’t take on that grantwriting I won’t be able to pay the mortgage) then you may be working to a Strength, but you are hijacking your ability to find that work that makes you excited to get up and working to a Hedge Hog Strength.

The desire to re-engage my Hedge Hog required a full on effort to re-engineer my working identity and re-imagine myself at work. I engaged a coach and read the books, did the mind-mapping and turned my Hedge Hog Strength of strategic planning on myself and I’ve realigned with my Hedge Hog  – partnering my strengths with my passions. My consulting practice has been re-focused on planning and capacity building for organizations and for people (as a coach). Over the last 9 months I’ve had two planning clients and one organizational assessment project and NO grantwriting. I’m building the coaching practice and have a few irons in the fire.

This morning (after a successful client planning retreat yesterday) I woke up early with all kinds of ideas about how to move my client forward and I couldn’t wait to get out of bed and start my day. Oh what a difference that Hedge Hog makes.



To read the next entry of Victoria’s story click here. 

To start at the beginning of Victoria’s story click here.


Is this a Mid-Week Crisis?

Honestly, I’m depressed. The feeling started coming on strong last night and seems to be sustaining itself through today. On any other given week my strategy would be to stay strong and move through it. I’d consider the situation a temporary FUNK – something we all honestly experience from time-to-time.

This is not a normal week.

On Saturday I have a race – my third triathlon. I feel weak, on the verge of breaking down both emotionally and mentally. That potential break down is spawning fear. This fear is taunting me trying to suggest that I’m breaking down physically as well. My right knee and calve want to believe the fear. They are flirting with being on the verge of being strained.

I’m not happy with what’s happening.

Yet, it is happening.

The entire situation has left me to ponder and within that practice this is what has come:

Find harmony through conflict. Allow conflict to lead to harmony.

This message is producing a resolve. It is inspiring me to completely let go of any expectation or outcome for the race. It has given birth to an intention to:

Fall back into the current of flow and see where it takes me.

I’ve trained hard and diligently. In my soul I know my body is ready. My mental and emotional bodies are not. In order to engage “flow” I’m letting go. I plan to keep my eyes and ears open during the race, to be in observation mode and nothing else.

When I get back to blogging next week, I’ll let you know how that went.

Author’s Note

It is not uncommon for fighters and other athletes to find their bodies shutting down in a self-preserving effort to build a reserve just before competition. Knowing this makes it easier to normalize what is happening. It assists in quieting the hungry hounds of fear barking at the door of my sanity.  It does not diminish the belief I have that a larger lesson of letting go is being presented. I trust. I trust myself to know that fear is asking me to build an arsenal, to summon up drive and resolve, yet for now, it is time to rest and see what is to come.